Statement on the Supreme Court's ruling on Deliveroo riders' bargaining rights

Tue, Nov 21, 2023, 10:37 AM

The Supreme Court’s ruling comes as a disappointment after years spent fighting a legal battle to secure riders’ bare minimum employment rights. As a union we cannot accept that thousands of riders should be working without key protections like the right to collective bargaining, and we will continue to make that case using all avenues available to us, including considering our options under international law.

Deliveroo, the “most protested platform in the world”, is known for some of the most extreme exploitation of workers in the gig economy. A pay review conducted in 2021 found that some riders were being paid as little as £2 per hour. Now, Deliveroo is denying riders basic employment rights due to their ability to substitute accounts.

Flexibility, including the option for account substitution, is no reason to strip workers of  basic entitlements like fair pay and collective bargaining rights. This dangerous false dichotomy between rights and flexibility is one that Deliveroo and other gig economy giants rely heavily upon in efforts to legitimise their exploitative business models.

We know that the consequences of this irresponsible neglect of workers are grave. Just last week another Deliveroo rider lost their life whilst at work for the company - this is not the first worker who has been tragically affected by Deliveroo’s willful negligence and lack of responsibility. Low pay and a lack of protections are putting couriers at constant risk, and without change these unsafe working conditions will only lead to the needless deaths of more vulnerable gig economy workers.

Fortunately, more and more workers are recognising the urgent need for collective action to challenge Deliveroo’s reckless disregard for safety and dismissal of riders’ concerns. Whether reflected in legislation or not, couriers are joining the union in ever bigger numbers and building our collective power to take action and hold companies like Deliveroo to account. Our strength lies not in court rulings but in our unity as a workforce coming together to demand change.

Thank you to the International Transport Worker’s Federation (ITF) for their continuous support with this case as well as to our fantastic legal team Lord Hendy KC, Katharine Newton KC and Madeline Stanley from Old Square Chambers and Magdalena Gray from Harrison Grant Solicitors.

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